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Don't misunderstand my title. This isn't a horror movie - at least not in
the sense of genre. But it is a truly frightening true story about the abuse
of police power.
Basically, the story is quite simple. 12 year old Stephanie Crowe is brutally murdered in her own home in Escondido, California while her family sleeps. Without any real evidence, the police decide that her 14 year old brother Michael must be guilty, they ignore evidence pointing to another suspect and they coerce a confession from him after two days of non-stop questioning, filled with lies about what they supposedly "know," threats if he won't confess and promises of help if he will. Young Michael then becomes the object of a relentless prosecution by the District Attorney, who finally admits that there is no direct evidence but won't give up the case, instead dismissing it "without prejudice," thus leaving possible future prosecution hanging over Michael's head, and leaving the viewer wondering what's going to happen to this boy, until the final decision is revealed at the end.
This is truly an excellent, gripping movie. It takes a bit of getting into in the first few minutes, but once you're into it you're definitely hooked. Superb performances come from Ally Sheedy and Michael Riley as Michael's parents and - I'll use the phrase again - there's a positively frightening performance from John Bourgeois as Detective Claytor. Not to be overlooked is young Mark Rendall's performance as Michael. He brilliantly portrayed the fear and hopelessness this young boy must have felt. At times I thought he came across as a bit too mature in his portrayal, but, then again, maybe that was Michael.
This isn't a particularly well known movie, but everyone should see it.
This film recently aired on Court TV and it's a grim true story of how California police used intimidation to attain a false confession from an innocent 14-year-old whose sister was killed. This family, the Crowes, was victimized twice, once by the killer, and then by the police who destroyed their lives. This film shows the interrogation filmed in very stark lighting where you can't even see the actors eyes. Ally Sheedy portrays the mother. A warning: this is a VERY depressing film, as the police brand Michael guilty based on the evidence that he likes to play Dungeons and Dragons with his friends. For anyone who's ever been falsely accused this is a must see. And it's interestingly relevant as the Central Park jogger case just released 5 innocent kids after 10 years in jail. How many innocent people sit in prison now falsely convicted? We'll never know the true statistics of our injustice system.
This is an outstanding performance with a full range of emotion and
portrayal of a teen boy, from slightly surly to loving, from confusion
through desperation, to damaged, toward recovery. It's all there from
the opening scene through to almost the end. The scenes of the
interrogation itself are among the most harrowing, and Mark is
excellent. Make-up did good work here to show the physical toll, on his
face. His body language was very good in these scenes. Later, the
anguish of his experience is captured perfectly in the scene with his
mother when she wants him to go to the video store with her.
This is a good little movie (congratulations Court TV) with strong performances by all of the cast, including the rather creepy portrayal of the detectives getting their way in the interviews.
But for me, Mark's work was splendid.
very, very moving movie. kudos to court-tv. you guys did an awesome job.
felt the full range of emotions as i watched. and really - isnt that the
definition of a truly great movie??
there were a couple of FIRST's for me tonight. it was the FIRST time i watched "The Interrogation of Michael Crowe. this is the FIRST time i have ever posted a comment on imdb. and after rating over 300 different films over the past one and a half years or so, i give this movies my FIRST 10/10. young Mark Rendell was simply stunning....
This movie seriously has some of the best acting I've seen especially by the child-Michael Crowe character. In fact very good acting all around except by the mother character. Her acting skills in my opinion are overly dramatic at times. But aside from that, the movie is a good conversion from the real life events. It is a sad event in real life but the story is movie quality. Again, Good movie GREAT acting. I highly suggest this to all types of movie lovers.
its real frightening to know that this has actually happened. i was watching this film and love true movies, but this one grabs you and pulls you into the world of unknown. when i was watching this it was so emotional and the real life story just is great to watch and know what has happened. i enjoyed this film but the power of the police is a bit scary to know that they can do this. overall i enjoyed the film.this film is great to watch and is the best real life film i have seen so far. it was a great film about the real life case of this. the actors make the film what it is. when these things happen in real life it is a sad story. i have looked up the film on the internet and have become interested in this story.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Crowe family are shocked and unsettled when 12-year-old daughter Stephanie (a brief, but memorable appearance by Anna Mary Wilson) gets brutally murdered in their home late at night. The police suspect Stephanie's surly, naive 14-year-old brother Michael (superbly played by Mark Rendall) of the killing and pressure him into making a confession. Michael's distraught mother Cheryl (an outstanding portrayal by Ally Sheedy) and sympathetic father Stephen (a fine Michael Riley) don't believe the charges and take legal action to get Michael released from jail. Director Don McBrearty, working from a gripping and thoughtful script by Alan Hines, relates this startling true story of injustice, the untrustworthiness of the police, and how the law can work against us instead of for us with commendable skill, taste and restraint. The first-rate acting from a uniformly sterling cast rates as another significant asset: Rendall is a revelation as the scared and confused Michael, Sheedy and Riley are equally terrific as his parents, plus there are sturdy supporting performances by Hannah Lochner as Michael's sweet younger sister Shannon, John Bourgeois as the severe, intimidating Detective Claytor, and Rosemary Dunsmore as shrewd defense attorney Dorothy Sorenson. Rhett Morita's slick cinematography and the moody, mournful score by Alex Pauk and Alexina Louie are both up to par as well. An exceptionally potent and poignant picture which packs a remarkably strong and lingering emotional punch.
This is based on a true story. The real Michael Crowe has seen the movie and is impressed with how truly the case was represented. This movie is a must-watch; it truly raises some serious questions about our justice system. It gives you information that the average American citizen is entitled to, but usually does not have. Watch it, learn from it, and arm yourself with knowledge of just what is possible. It does not mean that the American government or justice system is entirely corrupt, but investigations may not be as pristine as they appear. For their part, however, I will say that the movie focuses on the point of view of the affected family and not the officers. The most common speculation is that the officers accused Michael because they did not wish to do all of the work of a true investigation; they instead just wanted to prove their theory, right or wrong. Because this is about Michael's suffering and obvious innocence, that is pretty much point of view given.
This movie was absolutely stunning. I was shocked at how well it was done. Although Michael Riley's performance as Stephen Crow was a little dull, the rest of it was fabulous. Mark Rendall, who played Michael Crow, was unbelievable. He left me in tears. His performance was superb. And Ally Sheedy, who played Cheryl Crow, was excellant, as usual. The real murder took place VERY close to my home, and the accuracy was unbelievable. This was the one of the most accurate murder cases I've ever seen. Overall, I give this movie 9/10.
If you've read all the other reviews, you know what the story line is
so I won't go into that.
What I will say is that the production and writing of the movie itself were excellent--I didn't realize CourtTV made such high quality productions. The family dialog seemed genuine---no sugar coating to make an idyllic family, and they seemed like 'regular' people. The actors were excellent--I was pleasantly surprised. I expected as much out of Ally Sheedy, but the boy who played Michael deserves all the kudos he has been earning. The supporting characters were also very good.
This movie should be viewed by aspiring law students and probably anyone who is interested in personal freedom!
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